The Bucket List: 7 Unconventional Surf Spots Around the World

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The Bucket List: 7 Unconventional Surf Spots Around the World

If learning to surf is a bullet point on your bucket list, you’ll be excited to learn that your classroom isn’t limited to coastal locales. Despite the best wisdom of a Beach Boys song, it is possible to catch a wave far from the shores of Malibu or Peru. From river surfing in Munich to riding waves in deserts of the Middle East, these seven surf spots around the world are anything by conventional.

1. Eisbach River Surfing
Munich, Germany

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Photo via Flickr/ by Jaan-Cornelius K.

On a small channel running through Munich’s central park, surfers line up to catch a ride on a man-made wave. Surfing the river has only been legal since 2010, but people have reportedly been doing it since the 1970s. Eisbach, which translates to ice brook, has a wave that continuously measures around three feet high and 12 feet wide. Newbies be warned, the shallow water and non-stop wave makes this a destination best suited for skilled surfers.

2. Lake Michigan
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Photo via Flickr/ by Russ

Dubbed the Malibu of the Midwest, Sheboygan has a long history of hosting freshwater surfers. The season runs from fall to spring when Lake Michigan produces significant waves. Less experienced surfers can enjoy smaller waves and much higher temperatures during the summer. Sheboygan is an ideal spot for Midwest surfers, as it protrudes some five miles into Lake Michigan where winds are higher and waves are bigger.

3. ?Severn Bore?
Gloucester, England

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Photo via Flickr/ by PapaPiper (Travelling)

As it turns out, tidal bores make great inland surfing spots. There are more than 60 of them around the world from China to Alaska and even the Amazon River. The Severn Bore on the River Severn in Gloucester, England, is one such place where this phenomenon has delighted surfers. When tides rise, a large wave forms as water rushes through the bore’s narrow channel making it ideal for river surfing.

4. FlowRider
Royal Caribbean Cruises

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Photo via Flickr/ by Roderick Eime

Aboard Royal Caribbean Cruises you can surf on the ocean, but not in the ocean. The 40-foot FlowRider is essentially a sheet with water propelled over to simulate a continuous wave. Cruisers of varying skill level can use the simulator for free aboard select ships while out at sea. Spectators can also gather in stadium-style seating around the FlowRider to watch the skills and spills of their fellow surfers.

5. WaveHouse

Photo via Flickr/ by ?AwnisALAN

From the same makers as Royal Caribbean’s FlowRider, WaveHouse is a destination wave simulator with locations around the world from San Diego (pictured) to Durban, South Africa and Santiago, Chile. Their Singapore location features the FlowBarrel, which can simulate a 10-foot wave. Surfing at WaveHouse offers the sensation of being in the ocean without the risk of reef cuts or shark bites. The activity is becoming so popular that it’s led to a new sport known as flowboarding.

6. Habitat 67
Montreal, Canada

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons / by Marc-André Desrosiers

The St. Lawrence River in Montreal can produce a wave more than six feet tall, much to the delight of local surfers. Habitat 67, as it’s known, shares its name with a nearby housing complex. A number of local outfits offer lessons to first time or novice surfers, including KSF for around $70-110 Canadian dollars a session.

7. Wadi Adventure
Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

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Photo via Wadi Adventure

There is little you can’t do in the United Arab Emirates, from indoor snow skiing to standing at the foot of the world’s tallest building. In landlocked Al Ain, only about an hour and a half drive from Dubai, you can add surfing to that list now too. The city has been dubbed the adventure capital of the UAE and is home to Wadi Adventure;, an indoor surfing, rafting and kayaking facility. You can learn to ride the waves in the world’s largest surf pool while looking out on the burnt landscape of this Middle East nation.

?Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.